Cat is a beauty enthusiast, honoring the essence of natural beauty and supporting informed choices to enhance what mother nature gave us.
Why I Chose Broadband Light Therapy
NEWS FLASH—there is hope for sun-damaged skin! After many years of neglecting my skin and indulging in absolutely everything, dermatologists warn will ruin our skin (sun worship, excessive alcohol, smoking, and lazy skincare), I notice the signs of my neglect creeping across my face like soldiers of doom.
Fortunately, I inherited good Italian skin, but even the best skin genes are no match for constant neglect. When I turned 40, the struggle to maintain healthy skin got real. Real bad. 25-years of eating disorders, smoking, drinking, and days spent sacrificing my body to Sun Gods affected my skin exactly the way I was warned it would.
The consequences of my sinful indiscretions began appearing like Ghosts of Christmas past. Although my goal was to improve the health of my skin, it would be another two years before I turned to professionals for help.
My Damaged Skin
My complexion was taking on a red, blotchy tone, enhanced by broken capillaries and under-eye discoloration—concealed only with makeup. I find it true that, as we age, makeup should be less obvious. Honestly, I was tired of makeup and I simply wanted to wear less of it. As much as I enjoy the creative transformations of makeup, I don't want to rely on it to make my skin look good. I began educating myself about skin health and researching treatment options to help repair damage and bring me closer to having the healthy-looking, radiant skin I desired.
For a little additional insight, I have battled eating disorders most of my life, which, in addition to smoking, drinking, and lack of proper skincare well into my 30s, contributed to my skin's diminishing radiance. I was also very self-conscious (BDD) and wore far more makeup than necessary—my skin couldn't breathe!
My Experience With Broadband Light Therapy
I wanted a second chance to love my skin, to unveil the natural beauty it had before I put it through hell. So, I booked an appointment for a consultation.
My doctor recommended I begin with Broadband Light Therapy (BBL) to address sun damage and redness and improve texture before moving forward with other procedures. Of course, during the entire consult, I examined every pore on her face. I feel more confident when the person treating my skin has good skin, and her skin was flawless.
What Is BBL?
Broadband Light Therapy (BBL) uses intense light energy to rejuvenate skin and improve the following conditions (and more):
- Acne and acne scarring
- Sun-damaged skin
- Discolorations, such as age spots, sun spots, and freckles
- Redness associated with broken blood vessels and rosacea
- Skin laxity
Essentially, the light energy from BBL Therapy penetrates deeply beneath the skin, improving discoloration and rejuvenating the skin. This light energy is also believed to alter skin cells so they "behave like" younger skin. This was explained to me in terms of visualizing how in 10 years my skin will look younger and better than it did on treatment day. This might explain why BBL is often marketed as "Forever Young BBL." I don’t care about being forever young; I just care that my skin looks its best.
My First Appointment
Because it's recommended to avoid sun exposure before and after BBL, I made an appointment a few weeks after a trip to ensure that I wouldn't ruin the results if I forgot to use sunscreen.
I had arrived at a place in life where I took my health more seriously, and although I had eliminated the majority of skin-sabotaging habits such as smoking, drinking, and poor eating habits, I often neglected regular application of sunscreen.
I can't stress enough how important I found it is to protect my skin from sun damage. All those little brown and red spots were born from excess sun exposure.
This is how my treatment went:
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- My skin was analyzed with a skin diagnostic screening called Visa Complexion Analysis which reveals problem areas and enables the practitioner to more specifically and efficiently treat them.
- My skin was sanitized with alcohol.
- My skin type and recent sun exposure were assessed to gauge appropriate laser settings.
- I was given eye goggles to protect my eyes.
- My practitioner guided a wand-like light energy-emitting device across my face, targeting specific areas for redness, sunspots, and skin laxity.
The procedure felt like rubber bands snapping on areas of my skin where the energy was concentrated. It stung but was bearable.
Slathering on Sunscreen
The actual procedure was over in about 20 minutes, and the technician made me slather a high SPF sunscreen all over my face and wouldn't let me leave until I promised to wear sunscreen. I purchased some from the office so she could believe I would wear it. It wasn't cheap, so I wear it every day.
Sunscreen diligence is a must! This is something I haven't been able to get through my thick skull over the years, but I am a convert now!
My Skin Was Radiant Once More!
When it was all over, my skin looked radiant! I thought maybe it was because the procedure stimulates circulation, giving the skin a nice glow, but a few days later it still looked great. I was warned that any dark spots might get darker before flaking off and not to pick at them. I didn't notice much in that area outside of a few sprinklings on my left temple, but the redness faded quickly and the color more even-toned.
My skin looked brighter!
The Treatment Series
It is recommended to have a series of BBL treatments spaced about a month a part for best results then follow up yearly to maintain results. Typically, there is no down time for recovery and you can return to your daily activities right away as long as you walk out that door wearing sunscreen and wear it every day for the rest of your life!
At least wear it when you're out in the sun.
I have had these treatments in the past with varying results, even suffering some terrible burns once (of which I still have scars), but this time I noticed a more distinct improvement. The only time I I needed specific after care was when my chest was burned to blisters. That happened because the setting was too high for my chest skin color, which was darker than my face (see what I mean about sunscreen?)
This is why it's so important to talk to your technician about sun exposure and to completely avoid sun exposure all together before this treatment. Also, it is equally important to find a qualified and experienced practitioner who can recognize when your skin may not be reacting well.
Risks of BBL
Prior to having your BBL Therapy, it is extremely important that you tell your technician about your recent sun exposure and if you burn at all. If you have any color from a tan or even a fake tan, you risk burns and hyperpigmentation.
The above photo is a little blurry but the burns are obvious. This is what my chest looked like two days post-treatment. My technician was very worried (rightfully so) as the risk for infection, hyperpigmentation, and severe scarring was serious.
From Sun Worshipper to Sunscreen Worshipper
I think my sun-worshipping days might be behind me. I decided that if I am going to spend as much as I do on making my skin healthy and beautiful and investing in a healthy lifestyle, I’m not going to ruin it again by neglecting to protect it from the sun. I can’t avoid the sun altogether because I do love the sun, but I can take action to protect my skin. Using a quality sunscreen must be part of that routine
Ultimately, I am very pleased with the results. It may have taken a few years to get it right and I learned some hard lessons but I really love how my skin looks now and I definitely think it was worth it. I finally feel confident enough with my skin not to wear makeup everyday. I will return next week for another treatment and find out if this will be the one that will free me from makeup forever!
My lifestyle is healthy and I want my skin to reflect that.
I don't drink, smoke, or party. I avoid sugar and processed foods, I exercise, and I drink lots of water. I have arrived at a point in my life where I feel that I can be responsible for and maintain my skin's health and appearance.
Turning Back the Clock
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2017 Cat Radke